conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Why I Don’t Listen To Christian Music

with 2 comments

Short Answer: No One Likes Being Manipulated

On Conversation is an Engine I mostly write about communication and conversation and copywriting and how business interacts because I am fascinated by what happens when people talk. But undergirding this sense of wonder is a faith in God that makes me see much of life in theological hues. The fallout from that theological saturation means I want to approach the work of communication and persuasion from an ethical perspective—as best I can.

Lots of music labeled “Christian” does not do that.

OneTheMove-05122014The college I occasionally teach at has a radio station that spins out Christian music. I stopped listening years ago when I realized my emotions were being manipulated by music that was nearly content-free. It had a veneer of faith, but seemed much more about living a good life and having positive feelings.

Especially positive feelings.

I’m not against positive feelings. Happy is good in my book. Happy makes sense to me. But if happy comes from a sugar-like high that dissipates as quickly as it formed, was it real? And is happy the point of faith in God?

I argue: No.

Happy is good. Joy is better and depending on how you define things, joy lasts longer. And true is best.

And really, what is Christian music? I might argue Tom Waits has a lot more truth to offer than whatever contemporary Christian band is currently famous. The Talking Heads seemed to provide many glimpses of truth—so do many of the folk musicians I listen to. Certainly Mr. Bach and Mr. Mozart and Mr. Telemann and Mr. John Adams and even Philip Glass provide more soaring and more depth and more truth.

Of course, music is a very personal thing and there is no right or wrong. We like what we like and I don’t want to disparage anyone’s choices—really I don’t. But if I sense I’m being manipulated by sentimental lyrics, I move on.

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston, in response to on the move

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2 Responses

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  1. Thank you for saying this! The message I’m getting lately is that what we Christians have to offer isn’t enough. So, we sexy it up a bit and create warm fuzzy feelings and wait for some spiritual pilot light to magically ignite.

    Maybe it’s just about the money.

    Call me a relic, call me what you will
    Say, I’m old-fashioned, say, I’m over the hill
    Today’s music ain’t got the same soul
    I like that old time rock and roll!

    dirofpr

    May 12, 2014 at 10:36 am


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